A class at USF called Queer Theory has recently generated controversy, which is not completely unfounded.
In an attempt to advertise the class, an e-mail was sent by USF assistant professor of sociology Sara Crawley, who teaches it. It made its way into the hands of David Caton, the executive director of the Florida Family Association (FFA), who has publicly protested the class.
Caton was shocked by what he saw in the e-mail, and the FFA launched a campaign to blast USF officials with nearly 2,500 e-mails calling for an end to ‘inappropriate curriculum’ and asking administrators to ‘reconsider your decision to approve such an irresponsible and wasteful course.’
USF Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Dwayne Smith said the University is standing behind the course.
USF has the right to offer what it feels are appropriate courses, and the FFA may not understand the complicated issue of what the term ‘queer theory’ means. However, based on the e-mail, the FFA, an organization aimed at improving the country’s moral environment, had a right to be offended.
The e-mail includes a picture of what appears to be a shirtless man wearing white pants, suspenders and a white cowboy hat standing’in front of rainbow-colored’streamers, with the caption: ‘Drag performance of local gender illusionist, 6pak, a physiologically unaltered female-bodied’trans guy.’
6pak is biologically a woman but identifies as a man and dresses as one for drag shows, though she hasn’t undergone any transgender surgery. The picture in the e-mail demonstrated bad taste to say the least, and the caption led the FFA to believe the class would feature drag shows, which isn’t true, Crawley said.
The FFA made the e-mail available online at